Asia House Film Festival 2015
The 2015 Asia House Film Festival took place from Friday, 27 March to Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Two post-Festival screenings took place on Friday, 10 April and Sunday, 19 April 2015
The seventh annual Asia House Film Festival took place from 27 March to 31 March, 2015, generously supported once again by Prudential plc. Two post-Festival special screenings also took page on 10 April and 19 April, 2015.
Set to receive its greatest level of visibility and public support to date, the Festival, which is now in its seventh year, was sponsored by Prudential plc for the fifth year running.
The Asia House Film Festival aims to premiere dynamic and challenging cinema from across Asia – from Cambodia to Indonesia and from Mongolia to Japan.
This year’s programme represented the changing cultural landscape of Asia through a line-up of four short films and 12 feature films and aimed to showcase the most stimulating filmmaking voices from across the continent.
This year’s theme of New Generations reflected on new talents, new styles, new landscapes and new modes of film production from and about the Asia Pacific region – from Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesian, India, Japan and Uzbekistan, with a special focus and retrospective on Mongolia on Sunday, 19 April.
The 2015 Asia House Film Festival took place at venues across London over the course of five days, in what has become a major celebration of Asian cinema.
Festival venues this year were the Ham Yard Theatre in Soho for the Opening Gala Night screening, as well as Rich Mix in Shoreditch, The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury and The Cinema Museum in Kennington. This year’s Festival featured three European premieres, eight UK premieres and three London premieres.
The 2015 Festival’s newly appointed Artistic Director Jasper Sharp said: “We are excited to be presenting a diverse range of titles in a diverse range of genres, including a vintage Uzbekistani ‘Red Western’ and a Vietnamese sci-fi, as well as documentaries on the Burmese punk scene and a Japanese didgeridoo player. We hope this eclectic selection will thrill and enthrall, while inspiring London audiences with exciting and unique visions of Asia from some of its best filmmaking talents.”
Opening the Festival on Friday 27 March at the Ham Yard Theatre was the European Premiere of Indonesian film In the Absence of the Sun, which frames the modern metropolis of Jakarta as never seen before. Directed, written and edited by Lucky Kuswandi, it is a bittersweet tale of universal appeal, in which personal dramas and nostalgic memories unfold over the course of a single night.
Closing Asia House Film Festival 2015 on Tuesday 31 March at The Horse Hospital was the UK Premiere of Yangon Calling – Punk in Myanmar (Dir. Alexander Dluzak and Carsten Piefke, Germany / Myanmar), an award-winning documentary about Myanmar’s underground punk scene filmed secretly in the former military dictatorship using hidden cameras. It provides a rare portrait of the rebels who really do have a cause, introducing us to their homes, their friends, their families, and their hidden world of rehearsal rooms and illicit concerts.
The UK premiere of The Last Reel from Cambodia and the London premiere of Passion from Mongolia highlighted the huge changes that have taken place in the two countries’ film industries. The filmmakers were in attendance to introduce their films and discuss how individual artistic visions are shaped by economic, political and social realities in a globalised world. Passion, a poignant portrait of a man’s struggle to bridge two very different ages, was a wonderful introduction to Mongolian cinema ahead of a rare event dedicated to films from the country to be held at the Cinema Museum on Sunday 19 April.
Mongolian Treasures on 19 April featured three films showcasing different eras of Mongolian cinema. Yellow Colt (2013) is a heart-warming film about the life of an eight-year-old nomad raised on the Mongolian plains. Remote Control (2013) was directed by Byamba Sakhya, the director of Passion, and offered a window into contemporary life in Ulaanbataar. The Mongolian Treasures event featured the first ever UK screening of Lodongiin Tudev’s classic Before Rising Up the Rank / Zereg Nehemiin Omno (1965) from Mongolia’s national film studios Mongol Kino.
Another highlight of the Festival were two screenings of Uzbek ‘Red Westerns’ The Seventh Bullet/ Sedmaya Pulya (1972) set in the 1920s. The second screening took place on Friday 10 April at The Cinema Museum in Kennington at 19.30.
The Festival also hosted the UK Premiere of Flashback Memories 3D, an unorthodox musical documentary from Japan that received the audience award at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival. Directed by Japan’s Tetsuaki Matsue, who is one of the most interesting filmmakers on Japan’s independent scene, it focused on the didgeridoo maestro GOMA, who suffered from an inability to form new memories following a traffic accident at the peak of his career.
Sharp added: “I’m really excited about working with Asia House on this year’s Festival, and using this opportunity to bring to London some truly original, exciting and thought-provoking visions of and from the region. I aim to be showing work by filmmakers both new and old, and not just from the usual areas Asian cinema fans are accustomed to seeing films from, showing that the range of cinema produced across the continent throughout the decades is far more rich and diverse than imagined.”
To date the Festival has previewed and premiered Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain;Unforgiven; Dangerous Liaisons (2012); The Tale of Iya; The Shape of the Night;Kami’s Party; Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy; Hero; Norwegian Wood; The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Beyond Outrage, whilst past festival guests include Ravi Kumar, Lee Sang-il, Nawapol Thamrongattanarit, Tetsuichiro Tsuta, Gurinder Chadha, Ken Loach, Riz Ahmed, Zhang Yimou, Rinko Kikuchi and Tran Anh Hung.
Growing year on year, it has received extensive press coverage in film and culture magazines such as Time Out, Sight & Sound magazine, The New Statesman, Guardian Guide, The Evening Standard and many other newspapers and magazines, as well as on national radio.
Watch the trailer of the Asia House Film Festival 2015 below:-